China's Young Environmentalists
Taking part in the mass march in Copenhagen on December 12, 2009. Zhan Yufeng
THE Great Power Race is a clean energy competition open to college students in China, India and the United States for the most numerous and most innovative clean energy projects and solutions. It starts in September, and by the end of July, over 500 universities had lodged entry applications, 177 of them from China.
The Voice of Chinese Youth
Zhao Xiangyu was a prime mover of China Youth COP15, a youth delegation to COP15, the 15th conference of parties in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Copenhagen in 2009. The group was the first Chinese NGO to get involved in the UN Climate Change Summit.
As an overseas student in the US, Zhao came into contact with many of his American and European counterparts and began to understand and share their great concern about climate change. “On important occasions at international meetings, they would always take a stand and express their opinions.” Zhao felt really stirred by such engagement. “As I see it, young people are an important part of society, with responsibilities and obligations. China and the US are both facing the huge problem of climate change, which is challenging on both international and domestic fronts. But compared with the number of young American activists, China had hardly any young people participating in the international arenas.”
Zhao Xiangyu saw the Copenhagen Conference as a great opportunity. “Chinese youth needed a voice on the global stage, and that voice should be heard by young people back home.” So he dropped out of school for a year and came back to China. Through the concerted efforts of the China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN), Golden Bridges, Student Green Association of Tsinghua University and other NGOs and youth groups, 40 young Chinese got funding to attend the summit.